MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N. C. -- As junior Marines with 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Anti-Terrorism), Headquarters Company, left for chow they were told that they were to go to the Main side Recreation Center.
Most thought it was another working party and were prepared to miss part of their lunch for whatever task they had to complete. Little did they know their assignment would be a most enjoyable one.
The NCOs along with the support of their Staff NCOs and officers held a surprise Appreciation Day for their junior Marines hard work and initiative that they shown over the past few months.
“These guys have been doing a great job in and outside of the office,” said Sgt. Juan S. Vargas, the 4th MEB (AT) embark chief and Single Marine Program Camp President. “In the past few months they have truly shown what how selfless a Marine can be no matter what rank they are.”
Since last fall, the Non-NCOs began holding weekly meetings on how they can improve themselves and their surroundings and have came together help to charitable organizations like the Angel Tree and Dollar and a Can.
“We saw an opportunity to help those less fortunate than us and we just took the initiative to do it,” said Lance Cpl. R. Tolson, a 21-year-old Germantown, MD., native, who is the outgoing director of Non-NCO meetings. “We were able to feed three families large meals for Thanksgiving and gave more than 60 children presents for Christmas.
“This was very motivating and shocking that they would do this even though we were just doing what Marines are supposed to do,” said Pfc. Randi L. Steele, the 19-year-old incoming Non-NCO meeting director, who is a Daytona Beach, Fla., native. “I felt really good helping those people and great that our leaders would think to do something like this for us.”
NCOs and section heads treated the junior Marines to pizza, sandwiches and sodas. The company commanding officer, Maj. Anita W. Carroll, company first sergeant, Lisa K. Nilsson, and company gunnery sergeant, David J. Vani formally congratulated them after their meal.
“This is great what they did for us, they set a fine example for younger Marines,” a smiling Steele, who is a 2004 Seabreeze High School graduate, said. “Hopefully, one day I will be able to lead my Marines like they have and oversee an event like this.”
As they finished their food, Steele, a personnel clerk with the 4th MEB (AT) and Lance Cpl. Benjamin B. Clayton, a legal clerk with the unit and outgoing assistant meeting director, were called up to receive an plaque on behalf of all the Marines for their hard work. Tolson who helped lead the way for the events received a Certificate of Commendation.
“These Marines were just happy just doing something we set out to do and to receive an award especially when they take time out of their busy schedule is great,” Tolson, a personnel clerk, said with a big grin. “I’m glad to have received my personal award, but I’m proud of all of the Non-NCOs getting an award.”
The junior Marines secured for liberty for the rest of the day and excused from field day that night, as the NCOs would be responsible for it. NCOs also announced that they could play football as an option to running for unit PT.
The junior Marines have no plans on stopping their efforts to help others and themselves as they always on the lookout for new events to help and new ideas to help them become better and stronger leaders.
“It’s not about the person, but more about the action,” Tolson, the 2002 Northwest High School graduate said. “We have started and built a foundation for ourselves and others and I know that will build a strong organization on top of it on event at a time.”